AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The Better Business Bureau has suspended a local bankruptcy preparation company’s “A” rating, after a CBS4 viewer filed a complaint.
“On My Own Bankruptcy and Divorce Preparation,” located along Chambers Road in Aurora, is under scrutiny, after unexpectedly closing the business.
The company had posted an advertisement on Craigslist, promising a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, or money back, clause. Client Preston Prunty responded to the ad, paying the company $250 in hope of resolving his financial issues.
Prunty told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas he wasn’t able to work full-time due to an injury, which caused him to file for chapter seven bankruptcy.
“I finally wanted to get my slate clean again,” Prunty said. “On May 14, [On My Own] took my money, and my [financial] documents.”
Instead of walking away from On My Own in better financial shape, Prunty said he walked away $250 deeper in debt, without any resolution to his financial problem.
Prunty claimed he showed up for his first appointment with one of the company’s agents. When he arrived, he walked through an unlocked door. When he got inside, he claims the office was vacant, and private client documents were left behind.
“There was bankruptcy and divorce files lying all over the place,” Prunty said.
Prunty took video as he saw documents with social security numbers and bank information scattered around the office.
“The filing cabinet was open, with hundreds of files. Just there for anyone to grab and take someone’s information and financially ruin them,” Prunty said.
CBS4’s Dillon Thomas spoke with company manager Sarah Woodson vie telephone.
Woodson said there was two sides to the story. However, she declined to interview with CBS4 multiple times. Woodson also declined to answer whether or not her company was in business, or if it had experienced bankruptcy issues of its own.
Prunty provided CBS4 emails exchanged with Woodson. In one email, Woodson wrote the company was closed effective June 1, 2017. She also suggested the door was unlocked when Prunty filmed video because the company was in the middle of moving.
Prunty told CBS4 he called police in hope of securing documents. Prunty said police guarded the entry for hours until a tenant locked the door.
In the emails, Woodson declined to return Prunty’s $250. She said several times she would return his documents.
At one point, she said she wanted to “Have [Prunty’s] paperwork done as soon as possible, so I no longer will have to deal with [him].”
After receiving a call from CBS4, and reviewing Prunty’s complaint, the Better Business Bureau of Denver and Boulder took down the company’s “A” rating. The rating was revoked until the investigation is complete.
“There was nothing very alarming on their profile [prior to this complaint],” said Krista Ferndelli, communications director for the Denver branch of the BBB.
Ferndelli said On My Own averaged just one complaint a year, in the several years they worked with the BBB. She said the complaints surrounded insufficient work, or lack to provide services.
“We do have an investigations team that is aware of [the current complaint], and is already looking into it,” Ferndelli said.
Prunty said, until the money was refunded as promised, he could not seek further help for his financial issues.
“It took me quite a while to save $250. I can’t go somewhere else until I get that money back,” Prunty said.
When questioned about the recent developments, Woodson told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas the company’s history should speak for itself.
Prunty said On My Own could try to use that defense in the near future when he sees them in court, hinting that a lawsuit could be filed in the near future.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.
Six months later, in January 2018, the business owner reached out to CBS4 to say that On My Own closed in July of 2017.
CBS4 reported in June that the BBB suspended the company’s A rating pending a review of the business’s status. The owner Sarah Woodson says the BBB accreditation and profile were canceled upon the owner’s request when the business was closed.